Barry Gibb has unveiled another preview of his forthcoming all-star collaborative album Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1. It’s a duet version with Dolly Parton of the Bee Gees’ classic “Words.”
The new rendition was captured at the first recording session for the country-flavored album, which was announced in November alongside its lead track “Words of a Fool,” featuring Jason Isbell. The set also features Gibb remaking “Jive Talkin’” with Miranda Lambert, “Butterfly” with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and tracks with Alison Krauss, Olivia Newton-John, Keith Urban, Brandi Carlile, Little Big Town, and Sheryl Crow, among others.
Dave Cobb, the ever in-demand Nashville studio craftsman who produced the album, told Rolling Stone of the session: “I remember walking to where I was going to play guitar and my legs started trembling. I just registered the weight of these two,” he says. “They’re bigger than legends, they’re icons, and they’re right there.”
“Words” was written by Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb and became a hit for the Bee Gees in 1968, when it topped the charts in Canada, Germany, Holland, Switzerland. It was a No.8 success in the UK, where it was the trio’s third Top 10 single after “Massachusetts” and “World,” and reached No.15 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Words” featured in a crime movie of that year called The Mini-Mob, directed by Robert Amram and starring UK blues-pop star Georgie Fame, who sang the featured version of “Words.” The film was known as The Mini-Affair in the US.
The song had attracted at least half a dozen covers by the end of 1968, with Glen Campbell recording it for his Wichita Lineman album of late that year. UK pop favorite Sandie Shaw cut it for her LP The Sandie Shaw Supplement at the same time. It then became a feature of Elvis Presley’s live shows in Las Vegas and was included on the album Elvis in Person at the International Hotel. Later hit versions included those by Rita Coolidge and Boyzone, who made it their first UK No.1.
Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1 is released on January 8, 2021. Pre-order it here.